Setting up the 2510cdn
The Dell 2150cdn comes with a large color setup paper board which guides users through seven simple steps: unpack, setup pre-loaded toner cartridges, add optional accessories (Wireless dongle, additional paper tray), select connection, attach cords, plug in and turn on printer, load paper tray and install drivers/software with provided CD.
Once you insert the CD, the Dell Setup Navigator begins and allows beginners to select a guided setup or advanced users to skip directly to software and driver installation. The Navigator welcome screen also includes links to the user’s guide, troubleshooting guide, an overview of product features and optional accessories setup guide.
During the installation wizard, you’ll need to select which 2150 series model you purchased (in this case the 215cdn) and the software you wish to download to your computer.
All in all, a fairly easy and painless setup, even for the most novice of users.
Ease of use
As a single function laser printer, there aren’t many standalone features on the 2150cdn box. As mentioned previously, the control panel consist of a 2-line back lit LCD, four arrow keys, an enter/select key, a menu quick key and a cancel quick key.
Navigation of the printer menus can be slightly confusing at first since it’s a 2-line LCD but Dell keeps the menus limited to four main options allowing for a quick learning curve and an overall simple navigation.
However, I would still suggest using the Dell Toolbox, which can be found through the Quick Launch Utility along with software updates, status reports and troubleshooting for any and all Dell printers on the network.
The Dell Toolbox is set up so that users can choose from three main tabs: printer settings report, printer maintenance and diagnosis. Between the three, users can access information, adjust settings and perform diagnosis check and required maintenance.
Since we chose to connect the 2150cdn over a network, we were able to access all the information found in the Quick Launch Utility and the Dell Toolbox via a web browser by punching in the IP address (which can be found by viewing the TCP/IP settings or by printing a panel setting report).
You can also adjust all print settings with the print properties/preferences menu.
Print speeds and quality tests
Dell advertises print speeds up to 24 pages per minute (ppm) for both black and color documents/images. During our print speeds tests, I found their print speeds to be very accurate. When printing our 40-page black and white text document, the 2150cdn averaged 24 ppm with a first page out in 8 seconds when the printer was awake. When the printer was sleeping, the first page out was only slightly slower at 12 seconds.
Mix in color images with black and white text or print entirely in color, it doesn’t matter, the print speeds stay strong at an average of 24 ppm.
More impressive, the duplexing speeds were still nearing 20 ppm. When printing our 40-page black and white text document, the 2150cdn printed up to 9 ppm (18 pages double-sided). And again, adding in color didn’t affect the print speeds in the slightest. A 40-page document single-sided took about 1:45 to print while a 40-page document printed double-sided took about 2:30.
When it comes to black and white text quality with a laser printer, you should expect great results, and the 2150cdn did perform up to my expectations. There is a toner saving mode found under the Advanced Tab in print settings and there was a marked difference, although the toner saver mode prints were still good quality to be useful for proof prints, interoffice memos, boarding passes, etc.
The color quality is a little more objective, but most laser printers should be able to print out decent color images on standard copy paper and I thought the 2150cdn did a really good job in this area, especially with the full page color images that I printed. I recommend printing color brochures, pamphlets, professional presentation materials etc. since the 2150cdn includes an Envelope/Paper setup navigator under print settings allowing users to customize paper settings. Users can also change the color balance and image settings and select from a slew of preset Watermarks.